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2013: April-June

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Hoards of Zombie Censors...

Australia's advert censor bans TV trailer for video game Dead Island Riptide

Link Here 30th May 2013

A TV advertisement for the zombie game sequel Dead Island: Riptide has been banned by Australia's advert censor.

The ad, plucked from the game's opening cinematic features a young couple choosing to blow themselves up rather than face the zombie hoard.

According to Australian website Mumbrella claimed:

The ad is too graphic in terms of its depiction of suicide, particularly the final image of the man hanging from a tree because it may be very traumatic for those who have lost a family member to suicide.

The Advertising Standards Board upheld the complaints, claiming the issue of suicide is a very significant community concern and (the Board) considered that the use of images which are strongly suggestive of suicide is not appropriate in the context of a television advertisement for a computer game.



Rejected For Moderate Usefulness...

BBFC to lose its role censoring cinema adverts

Link Here 29th May 2013

The Department for Censorship, Media and Sport writes:

Adverts shown in cinemas will no longer have to be reviewed by the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) under plans announced today.

At the moment all cinema advertisements are subject to the Advertising Standard Authority's (ASA) Committee on Advertising Practice Code, but also have to be reviewed by the BBFC as well.

Following a public consultation, in which the majority of responses favoured removing the BBFC requirement, we believe deregulation is fully justified. We think that the application of the ASA's code provides the right levels of consumer advice and protection.

We are now looking at the best way to bring about the planned changes, and we will make an announcement in due course.

But don't worry about the BBFC... They have picked up a new job of censoring pop videos and other currently exempt videos.



Rated M for Moralism...

Australian private members bill calls for age classification for advertising billboards

Link Here 24th May 2013

The political party, Katter's Australia Party, has put up a Private Members Bill which would see advertising billboards given classifications from G to MA15+ and also levy a tax on the more risque advertising.

Under the proposal, a censorship panel would be set up to determine the rating of billboards. The panel would also split the state into classification zones , so only G-rated billboards could be shown in a G-classified zone and PG-rated billboards in PG zones. Only G-rated posters could be anywhere near schools, hospitals, bus stops and sporting fields, while M and MA15+ billboards would be severely restricted to areas rarely frequented by children , such as industrial estates.

The cost of the panel, who and how many people would be on it and how they would make their judgments was yet to be determined by the KAP.

KAP Queensland leader Ray Hopper said the explicit material he would want to see branded MA15+ included signs promoting products that boast longer lasting sex . He said that the scantily-clad women on a Sin City billboard on the M1 would be unlikely to be acceptable under the proposal. Hopper said the levy should be 10% of the cost of advertising on the billboard.

The proposed Bill is now set to come up for debate some time during the year.



Car Crash Inducing Outrage...

CougarLife dating website has fun with breastfeeding billboard

Link Here 17th May 2013

A billboard on Sunset Boulevard for, showing a naked woman breastfeeding her baby will be taken down in response to a few negative comments. is an online dating site that connects older women with younger men. In the billboard advertisement, a thought bubble floats above the child's head with a one-word question: Jealous? The advertisement also pixelates the point at which the baby's lips meet the mother's nipples, much like adult content.

Cougar Life spokeswoman Marlo Jordan said in a statement to The Huffington Post:

There is no reason for this billboard to be taken down. The Farmers Market is actually the perfect place to showcase this ad. There is nothing more natural than a woman breastfeeding.

People may have been offended by the message of older women dating younger men, but I find that shocking in this day in age.

WetPaint reports that CougarLife received a few angry tweets on its twitter feed.

The City of West Hollywood wasn't involved in the billboard removal, said a spokesperson. Instead, local people worked directly with Van Wagner communications to take it down.

Cougar Life are somewhat unrepentant, A blog post reads:

We are baaack! The cougar dating site that brought you the infamous Motherf*ckers billboard last year has returned with a brand new, car-wreck-inducing Mother's Day themed ad in the exact same upscale location.



Ching Ching...

GM censors Chrevrolet advert to avoid easy offense after old song contains trivial references to China

Link Here 3rd May 2013

Carmaker General Motors (GM) says it is withdrawing a TV commercial for its Chevrolet Trax four-wheel drive after its soundtrack was deemed offensive .

The ad features vocals from a 1938 recording which refers to China as the land of Fu Manchu where people say ching ching, chop suey .

It had been running on Canadian TV since early April and was also posted on Chevrolet's European website.

The lyrics have now been removed from the advert, which has been reissued.

GM Canada's communications director, Faye Roberts, said:

Once the issue was called to our attention, GM immediately removed the offensive content from the commercial. It is never our intention to offend the audience.



Festival of WTF!...

Australian poster for TV channel catches world press attention

Link Here 2nd May 2013

Foxtel has apologised and said it will remove a Sydney billboard alluding to bestiality that was clearly in appalling taste .

The prominent billboard advertising the Foxtel arts channel Studio is currently placed on William Street in Kings Cross and depicts a man simulating sex with a pig.

A spokesman for Foxtel said that the billboard:

Was intended to provoke, but is clearly in appalling taste and demonstrates a lapse of judgment by Studio and a failure in the approvals process at Foxtel.

Once senior management at Foxtel became aware of the nature of the image we instructed Studio to remove and replace the billboard.

The image was taken from an episode of the British television mini-series Black Mirror, by Charlie Brooker. In the episode, a princess is kidnapped and her captor demands that the British prime minister have sex with a pig on live national television before she is released.

The show is screening on the Foxtel channel Studio as part of its Festival of WTF.

Wendy Francis, of the Australian Christian Lobby, said the prominent billboard was distressing and inappropriate, especially for children:

The damage is already done. It's already up now, it's got media attention. This is exactly what these advertisers want. They know this is damaging children. They know that this is not normal behaviour. They know that it will create attention.

They are not thinking of our society, of children being confronted by adult concepts. And these are adult concepts that are not even normal.



ASA's Top 10 Adverts of 2012...

ASA publishes its annual report covering activities in 2012

Link Here 1st May 2013

The Annual report speaks little of censorship issues beyond a few general paragraphs about pandering to the sexualisationists, particularly for outdoor advertising.

The ASA continue to provide the their 10 best adverts of the year as judged by votes from whingers. Note that this year the numbers may be reduced because the ASA web page for complaints, now indicates when the ASA has received enough complaints (about 100) about a particular advert.


    1008 complaints: Not upheld

    This TV ad, one of a series for the price comparison website, featured the former footballer Stuart Pearce kicking a football into the stomach of an opera singer. We ruled that the ad was not offensive, irresponsible or harmful, because the ad was not explicit or gruesome, and would be seen as light-hearted and comical.

    797 complaints: Not upheld

    Another TV ad for the price comparison website, this time featuring Sue Barker taking aim and shooting the main character with a rocket launcher. We ruled the ads was not offensive or harmful because it showed over-the-top and fantastical behaviour and would be seen as light-hearted and comical. We also noted that the main character was shown unharmed at the end of the ad.
  3. ASDA

    620 complaints: Not upheld

    This TV ad, which featured a mother carrying out various tasks in preparation for Christmas, prompted complaints it was sexist. We did not uphold the complaints. We also rejected complaints that the ad was offensive to single fathers or men who played a primary domestic role. We thought the ad reflected ASDA's view of the Christmas experience for a significant number of their customers.
  4. Channel Four

    373 complaints: Upheld in part

    A series of ads for the TV programme My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, appearing on posters and in national and regional press and magazines, prompted complaints that they were offensive, racist and unfairly denigrated and degraded Gypsy and Traveller communities. After a request from the Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications to re-open our investigation, we agreed that some of the images together with the accompanying text were offensive and irresponsible.
  5. Kerry Foods

    371 complaints: Upheld in part

    We did not uphold complaints that the nudity in a TV ad for Richmond Ham was offensive. However, we agreed with complainants that referring to the product as Britain's only ham would be interpreted as meaning the product was British in origin, when that was not the case.
  6. Paddy Power

    311 complaints: Out of remit

    We received complaints that an online ad on Paddy Power's YouTube channel was offensive to members of the transgender community. The channel was registered in Ireland, and so it fell outside of our remit. We did however uphold a small number of complaints about the same ad which appeared on TV.
  7. (= 7th) Kellogg's

    234 complaints: Not upheld

    We did not uphold complaints that a TV ad for breakfast cereal showing a man being attacked by a snake was unduly distressing. We acknowledged that some viewers might find the theme of the ad distasteful, but that most would view it as comical rather than graphic.
  8. (= 7th) Wm Morrison Supermarkets

    234 complaints: Not upheld

    This TV ad prompted a number of complaints that it was irresponsible and harmful because it implied that it was acceptable to feed Christmas pudding to dogs. We didn't think the ad implied it was acceptable to copy this behaviour, as the dog did not eat the pudding. Also dog owners would be aware of the toxicity of grapes, raisins and other foods to their pets
  9. Kayak Software Corporation

    189 complaints: Upheld in part

    We ruled that this TV ad showing a man receiving brain surgery would be likely to cause distress without justifiable reason especially to viewers who had been affected by the type of operation depicted in the ad. We did not uphold complaints that the ad was offensive in general.
  10. St John Ambulance

    144 complaints: Not upheld

    We did not uphold the complaints about this TV ad, which showed a man and his family coping with his diagnosis, treatment and eventual recovery from cancer, only for him to die by choking to death on a piece of food. Although distressing in its portrayal, we felt the overall message of the ad (that the relatively simple techniques of first aid could avoid sudden tragedy), was justifiable.


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